Monday 24 December 2012

Lounging with a lizard

On balance, the macro lens was a bad idea, but once I was in position, spread-eagled on the deck eye to eye with this little gecko, there was no way I was springing to my feet to pop inside for the standard. (That's a little game you might like to try when you're gathered with your family/friends tomorrow, by the way. See who can rise to their feet from sitting on the floor, without using hands or kneeling. Apparently, those who can will live longer than those who can't. And before you protest, the study group was aged 50-80. You're welcome! Merry Christmas!)

I was going to write about the Turkish baths in Budapest that we didn't actually bathe in (no time - oh, did you guess? So you're getting to know the downsides of being a travel writer then. It's not all business class and five star hotels and gift bottles of red wine, is it? Though it is that too...) because it's so hot and damp and humid here that that's what it feels like. But the lizard on the deck was a sign, because I only this morning received a bunch of answers to questions I'd posed a MAF scientist about suitcase stowaways.

He's a herp man, so it's just frogs, toads and lizards that he deals with. Any horrifying stories about menacing foreign spiders easing their hairy way out of suitcases I'll have to search for separately - but that's ok, the herps are good enough. Most of the accidentally-imported creatures are like my Rarotongan hitchhiker, the house gecko, with frogs and toads next, well down the scale. The most commonly imported amphibian is the reviled cane toad, usually tucked inside a shoe that someone's left outside - something you might like to remember. Just a week before I was in the office of Ultimate Hikes in Queenstown in 2009, prior to walking the Milford Track with them, one had hopped out of the boot of an Australian tourist - and that was after she had presented it to the MAF guys at the airport for inspection, tch. Not something I think I'll mention to my friendly herp man.

Here's a photo of one of hundreds of tiny baby frogs that I carefully stepped over on a walk around Queensland's Lindeman Island, that I later learned were actually infant cane toads, which I should have been stomping into oblivion. Oops.

1 comment:

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